ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM A global forum in which people who care about animals can speak and be heard! Fri, 16 Feb 2018 01:16:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New Jersey: Ban the Use of Exotic Animals in the Circus! Fri, 16 Feb 2018 01:06:55 +0000 New Jersey is poised to ban the use of any exotic animals in circuses. Please sign the petition to ask state governor Phil Murphy to sign this very important bill into law!

The post New Jersey: Ban the Use of Exotic Animals in the Circus! appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.


In 2017, Illinois and New York became the first states in the U.S. to ban circus elephant acts. This means that any circus that still uses elephants can no longer perform anywhere in the entire state of Illinois or of New York. Now in 2018, New Jersey is poised to take a step further, and completely ban the use of any exotic animals in circuses, including elephants, tigers, lions, and bears.

All animals suffer terribly in the circus industry, especially large and intelligent species like elephants. They lead lives of sadness, constant fear, and despair. The bill to ban circus use of exotic animals passed the New Jersey legislature by votes of 66-2-2 in the General Assembly and by 31-0 in the State Senate. Unfortunately, outgoing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie decided to “pocket veto” the bill, which means that he declined to sign it before leaving office.

But now New Jersey has a new governor, and therefore renewed hope to end circus suffering! A new revised circus bill is being drafted in the state legislature, and will be presented to new governor Phil Murphy for his approval. Please join me in asking Governor Murphy to sign this very important bill into law. The state of New Jersey can lead the way to end circus suffering for all exotic animals in the United States!

Sign the petition to ban circus use of exotic animals in New Jersey!

Featured image: elephants forced to perform in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus (now closed down) in Trenton, New Jersey in 2006. Credit mtstradling, CC BY-NC 2.0

The post New Jersey: Ban the Use of Exotic Animals in the Circus! appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.

]]> 0
Could Your Driveway Be a Danger to Your Pet? Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:33:10 +0000 Pet owners strive to keep their homes pet friendly, but far too often the hazards that come with having a driveway are forgotten.

The post Could Your Driveway Be a Danger to Your Pet? appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.


The world is full of pet lovers. 42.5 million American homes currently have at least one pet dog, while Western Europe keeps 43 million pooches. Pet owners strive to keep their homes pet friendly and to provide a safe and suitable living environment for their beloved furry friends to reside in. However, far too often the hazards that come with having a driveway are forgotten. The state of Pennsylvania has warned locals of the dangers of leaving dogs in the cold, but the winter weather brings additional hazards for pets too, especially out on the drive.

Winter hazards

Winter brings snowy, icy conditions which are hazardous for driving. Drivers may be keen to rid their vehicles of icy debris. However, antifreeze and similar deicer products used by people across the world are poisonous to cats and dogs, even in small quantities. Worryingly, reports even suggest that some cats are being poisoned deliberately with these readily available chemicals. Thus, prevention and protection are key. Look for alternative ways to tackle snow and ice, such as using sand, builder’s grit and heat to melt it away.

Summer threats

Driveways are heat traps in the summer, particularly those made from asphalt. Cats and dogs love to sun themselves in hot areas, but this can also be dangerous for them and presents a heat stroke risk. Your pet may seem okay while he’s just laying there, but at some point he may walk on the driveway, and that’s where there is another threat. Dogs and cats can easily burn the pads on the bottom of their paws by walking on boiling hot driveways. Therefore, take steps to prevent your pet going out on sweltering hot days. Ensure fresh, clean drinking water is always accessible. Also consider investing in bootees to protect your little one’s paws.

Safety & accessibility

When you’re having a driveway installed, it’s important that you keep your furry friend indoors while the work is being completed to prevent an accident from occurring. During this time, you can keep your pet occupied and mentally and physically stimulated by encouraging play. You should also speak to any neighbours who have pets, and advise of the accessibility required for the driveway construction as they, too, may wish to keep their pets out of harm’s way.

Pets are humanity’s beloved furry friends. Remember, therefore, to keep your driveway risk free just as you would the inside of your home.

Featured image credit Rachel, CC BY-NC 2.0

The post Could Your Driveway Be a Danger to Your Pet? appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.

]]> 0
Asia For Animals responds to Chinese police officer’s cruelty against chained dog Mon, 12 Feb 2018 02:37:20 +0000 Read Asia For Animals' letter to Chinese politician Du Jiahao, responding to a recent incident of violence against a chained dog by a police officer and calling for change.

The post Asia For Animals responds to Chinese police officer’s cruelty against chained dog appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.


Letter addressed to:

Mr. Du Jiahao
Party Secretary of Hunan Provincial
Communist Party Committee,
Hunan Provincial Committee of Communist Party Committee,
1 North Shaoshan Road, Furong District,
Changsha, Hunan Province,
The People’s Republic of China


3rd February 2018


Dear Mr. Du Jiahao, Party Secretary of Hunan Provincial Communist Party Committee,


We are writing on behalf of the Asia for Animals Coalition, representing international animal welfare and conservation organisations. We express our deep concerns with regards to the recent actions of Changsha police officer who on 31st December 2017 was filmed and photographed repeatedly beating and bludgeoning to death a golden retriever dog who was chained up outside a building. We collectively express our strongest condemnation of this display of abhorrent cruelty by a law enforcement officer, and call for urgent action to be taken to ensure that China’s authorities nationwide are fully and properly trained in global best practice humane dog handling techniques and protocols so that appalling cruelty such as this will never happen again.


The Asia for Animals coalition shares the position of millions of people in China and around the world in condemning such brutal and inappropriate police treatment of this dog, not least because the animal was chained up and therefore posed no immediate danger to the public, and because the violent episode took place in a public space.


Urban animal management is a highly professional and skilled discipline, and we encourage Changsha, and other cities throughout China, to look at the progress of those such as Dalian, Nanjing, Zhuzhou and others where public dog culls have become history, and where so-called “problem” dogs are handled professionally, humanely and in accordance with established protocols. We understand there are some as yet unsubstantiated claims that the dog in Changsha may have bitten some people. However, that in no way justifies the brutal and sustained attack that this poor animal endured.


As a coalition, we have always supported China’s actions to improve and modernize animal management practices, but on this occasion, the police officer’s action was completely unacceptable. This action has hurt not just the reputation of the local law enforcement agency, but also that of China nationally.

亚洲动物联盟一贯支持中国在动物管理方面取得的进步和采取的现代举措。 但是这一次,这位警官的做法难于服人。他的行为不仅损害了当地执法机构的名声,更损害了中国的国家形象。

As a country with a rapidly growing pet-owning population, and growing awareness of – and concern for – animal welfare, we encourage humane and holistic approaches to companion animal management.


Collectively, our animal protection group members have extensive experience and expertise in urban animal management, and we are committed to offering assistance to the Changsha Police Department in its efforts to improve and develop animal management protocols in line with society’s needs.


We look forward to hearing your response regarding this urgent matter.


Sent on behalf of the following organisations:


  1. Animal Guardians 动物守护神 (美国)
  2. Animal People 动物人(美国)
  3. ACRES  新加坡关心动物研究与教育协会
  4. Blue Cross of India 印度蓝十字协会
  5. Born Free Foundation 生而自由基金会 (英国)
  6. Change for Animals Foundation 为动物改变基金会 (新加坡)
  7. Elephant Aid International 国家大象救助组织
  8. Humane Society International 国际人道对待动物协会 (美国)
  9. International Animal Rescue 国际动物救援组织
  10. Jane Goodall Institute Nepal 珍·古道尔研究会尼泊尔中心
  11. Philippine Animal Welfare Society 菲律宾动物福利协会
  12. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Sarawak, Malaysia 马来西亚砂拉越州防止虐待动物学会

Featured image: Chained dog in China. Credit Tauno Tõhk / 陶诺, used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The post Asia For Animals responds to Chinese police officer’s cruelty against chained dog appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.

]]> 0
Canned lion hunting – a buffer against what? Mon, 12 Feb 2018 02:10:06 +0000 "On January 23rd 2018, the South African Department of Environmental  Affairs (DEA) set out its non-detriment findings (NDF) for the African lion. This is of extreme importance to the hunting industry, since without an NDF, no lion hunts would be allowed and no lion trophies could be exported."

The post Canned lion hunting – a buffer against what? appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.


The South African government’s ‘Scientific Authority’ says ‘everything is awesome’ when it comes to canned hunting. Yet even Safari Club International has thrown PHASA (Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa) and canned lion hunting under the bus, making the government’s insane verdict largely irrelevant.

In Government Gazette No. 41393, published on January 23rd, 2018, the South African Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) set out its non-detriment findings (NDF) for the African lion. This is of extreme importance to the hunting industry, since without an NDF, no lion hunts would be allowed and no lion trophies could be exported.

Let us unpack some of the gems contained in this 21 page government document, which basically gives the green light for lion trophy hunting to continue. The starting point for the NDF is its confident assertion that ‘the national and provincial permitting systems are effective.’  We shall see…

False Reporting

Statement 1: ‘Currently wild lion hunts are less than 10 per year.’

Statement 2: ‘According to the CITES trade database that is administered by UNEP-WCMC, just over half (53%) of the lion (3508) exported from South Africa between 2000 and 2009 are wild sourced, but this is due to a reporting error. Lions bred in captivity, then released in extensive systems for a period of time before being hunted have in the past been incorrectly reported as source code “W’ (i.e. wild). Delegated provincial management authorities have subsequently been requested to ensure the correct use of source codes so that the CITES trade records correctly reflect the trade in wild specimens. There is also a major discrepancy between reported exports and reported imports, with reported exports of captive sourced specimens greater than reported imports and conversely the reported exports of wild sourced specimens less than the reported imports. This would have contributed to inflated export figures overall and of wild sourced specimens in particular.’

So even though less than ten lions who are truly wild are shot every year by hunters in South Africa, more than half the lions exported (about 1000 a year) are classified as wild. So, which is it? Is it ten wild lions or 500 wild lions shot every year in South Africa?

What is the cause of this false reporting? Are the provincial nature conservation officials so incompetent that they do not know the difference between a wild lion and a tame captive bred one? Or is there another, more sinister, interpretation?

Most foreign hunters come to us from the land of stars and stripes. Because of restrictions imposed upon the imports of trophies of captive bred lions by U.S. Fish and Wildlife, together with the trophy record books’ ban on accepting trophies from captive bred lions, it is very much in the interests of the U.S. trophy hunter to persuade government conservation officials to classify his dead lion as ‘wild.’ This false reporting is then carried forward to the CITES database, and makes nonsense out of the statistics there.

Canned lions – the buffer between wild lions and… what?

Statement 1: The Scientific Authority does not consider the export of captive-bred lion trophies or captive-bred live lion for zoological or breeding purposes to be detrimental to the wild lion population in South Africa. At present there is no evidence to suggest that the lion bone trade between South Africa and East – Southeast Asia is detrimental to South Africa’s wild lion population.

Statement 2: Although captive bred lions are not considered to be of any conservation value to the wild lion population (Hunter et al. 2013), it is thought that they may serve as a buffer to potential threats to the wild population by being the primary source of hunting trophies and derived products (Lindsey et al. 2012a) (e.g. bones).

A buffer against what? The NDF has already told us in Statement 1 above that there is no threat from the lion bone trade to wild lions. So why is a buffer needed for a non-existent threat? And why would hunting trophies be such a threat to wild lions, when the NDF has already told us that, ‘the national and provincial permitting systems are effective’?  

If hunters are so well regulated by the permitting system, then why would you need a buffer for a non-existent threat from trophy hunters? Are the wild lions not adequately protected by ‘national and provincial permitting systems’? This NDF is full of contradictory statements.

Saving wild lions by preserving habitat for them to be hunted

Statement 1: The economic benefits to the private sector of keeping and trading in wild lion may provide some incentive for conserving the species and its habitat.

Statement 2: Hunting of wild lion on private property is limited, with less than 5% of lion hunts conducted over the 2008 to 2010 reporting period having targeted wild lions.

I wonder if the DEA can even see the contradiction between these two statements in the NDF? Why on earth would a landowner want to preserve large swathes of land to keep a pride of lions in a wild state when less than 5% of lion hunts inside Africa involve wild victims? Where is the economic advantage of allocating so much land to so few hunts? Surely the correct answer for the NDF to the question of how much conservation benefit to wild lions and their habitat accrues from hunting is either ‘none’ or ‘uncertain.’

One could go on ad nauseam pointing out the logical flaws and false assumptions that characterise this non-detriment finding. Nonetheless, the NDF will enable lion trophy hunters to continue in their cruel bloody addiction, with the ardent support of South African conservation structures.

Why do I call this NDF ‘insane?’

I call the non-detriment finding ‘insane’ because it compresses the whole complexity of preserving natural functioning ecosystems into mere numbers. So long as the numbers go up or stay stable, then the ‘Scientific Authority’ will issue an NDF for the species. But numbers alone are a wholly inadequate measure of the health of the environment. It is like looking at a football match through a half closed door, where you can only see a small sliver of the pitch, and deciding from that narrow view who is playing, what is being played, and who is winning.

Take rape as an analogy. What if rape were decriminalized because the suffering of the victim was regarded as irrelevant? What if the government issued an NDF for rape on the grounds that it did not cause a decline in the number of women, and therefore represented no threat to the survival of the female human species?

U.S. President Trump, for all his faults, made a far more scientific conservation statement than this insane NDF when he summed up trophy hunting as ‘a horror show.’

Featured image: A male lion with two cubs. Credit Tambako the Jaguar, used under CC BY-ND 2.0 / cropped

The post Canned lion hunting – a buffer against what? appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.

]]> 0
Stepping Into Orangutan Conservation Sat, 10 Feb 2018 01:33:16 +0000 Charisha Florence Fraser reflects on her experiences during an internship with Indonesia's Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP).

The post Stepping Into Orangutan Conservation appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.


Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) is an organisation that has done a lot of good for orangutans as well as other domestic and wild animals. They have exposed the shameless and sick perpetrators of the wildlife trade in Indonesia. Their dedication to rescuing injured and sick animals in strenuous situations and bringing wildlife traders and poachers to justice is indeed a dangerous but brave approach. In all regards, this organisation has definitely earned respect.

When I was a little kid, going to animal shows and taking pictures with the animals was something I enjoyed. This included having a picture taken with an orangutan. Being young and naive, I thought it was really cool to have a picture taken with an orangutan, as well as with other wild animals. Later on I would realize that what I did back then was not cool at all.

While I was doing a short externship at Taiping Zoo in Malaysia, I had the opportunity to help out with the enrichment program in the orangutans’ enclosure. Recently, I had a close up experience with a baby orangutan at Animal Sanctuary Trust Indonesia (ASTI). As always, I went up there to lend a hand with the animals and do some photography, and this time I was told that there were two baby orangutans named Upin and Ipin who had just been brought in by the BKSDA and the police.

I saw Upin in the cage and I thought to myself, he is handsome! He reached out his hand and laid it on my cheek and I felt my world stop spinning that second. I had tears streaming down my face. That second right there, something in me changed. Upin casually moved his fingers and wiped away my tears. How did such a beautiful soul end up in the hands of humans, far from the forest?

In 2013, I decided to join Centre for Orangutan Protection School Batch #3. I learned not only that orangutans are endangered in both Sumatra and Kalimantan [Indonesian Borneo], but also how serious the wildlife trade is in Indonesia. Being an animal enthusiast and an animal lover, I felt the need to help them. Wanting to pursue my passion in wildlife veterinary care, I decided to do an internship at COP Borneo to learn about the rehabilitation of orangutans under Ape Defender.

What is the role of a vet in the field of orangutan conservation? I started off my journey to Kalimantan shouldering this curiosity.

Shortly before landing, I saw the lush green forest of Kalimantan stretching for miles and miles, a sight that I had only seen in National Geographic before. There were also a number of coal mines that I saw from above. The drive from the airport to the base camp of Ape Defender was around an hour and a half. It was very exciting when I was briefed about the forest by the Captain of Ape Defender, Paulinus. He told me that coal mines, once they start burning, take years before they burn out, and that even rain water cannot stop the flames. That is how forest fires happen.

Upon reaching the base camp, I was greeted not only by the team who worked there, but also by a number of wild hornbills who flew high above the skies, instantly putting a smile on my face. The following day, I was introduced to the beautiful orangutans who were inhabitants of the rehabilitation centre. There were Michelle and Uci who stayed in one enclosure. Michelle, I came to realise, was slightly cheekier than Uci. Next, I was introduced to Bonti and Owi. These two little ones are able to make their own nests in forest school. There were Septi and Happi. Septi acts as a surrogate mother to Happi. Then there was Memo, a female orangutan who cannot be released back into the wild because she has been diagnosed with Hepatitis. There was Debby who loves pulling on anything that is close to her cage. Therefore, she is one of those orangutans one always has to be aware of while working with. I was then introduced to Ambon, a handsome male orangutan. Dandy, a rescued sunbear, also resided there together with the orangutans. Last but not least, Popi, the sweetheart of the team at COP Borneo and on social media.

These orangutans were all rescued, and are going through rehabilitation before they can be released back to the wild. It is not an easy process, but it is worth all the time and effort for the team of committed and dedicated people who want a brighter future for these souls. Daily activities at COP Borneo consist of feeding the orangutans twice a day, cleaning their cages, and giving medicine or immune boosts to the orangutans who are unwell or weak. The orangutans are fed watermelon, Salak fruit, bananas, pumpkins, oranges, and papayas.

As a vet intern, I followed Drh Ade for daily rounds. I learned the importance of observing the eating habits of the orangutans during feeding time. By observing their eating habits, it is possible to determine if they are healthy or unwell, which is vital for the care of each orangutan. I also learned the technique of drawing blood from an orangutan, during a routine physical examination that I witnessed during my internship there. The routine physical examination also involved measuring the length of the orangutan’s body from head to legs. This is done for identification purposes and to monitor their growth.

The fun part was trying to get fingerprints from the little ones – Owi, Bonti, Happi and Popi – for data purposes. Owi refused to have his fingers borrowed for the prints, and we all had a good time of trying and forcing him as well as Bonti and Happi. It was much easier getting Uci and Michelle’s fingerprints! They were so willing and cooperated well. It was then that I realised, much more than before, that they each had unique characters and personalities. I also learned the different types of sedatives used to sedate an orangutan, and methods of handling a sedated orangutan. Drh Ade was kind enough to teach me and allow me to draw blood from Dandy, the rescued sun bear at COP Borneo.

There was a very special bond that I was truly blessed to witness during my internship. It was between Popi, a young orangutan who lost her mother at a tender young age and was fortunately rescued by the team, and Wety, a young videographer from the island of Java who volunteered to be Popi’s babysitter. From the outside world, it is easy for an individual to say “Aww so cute, can I take a picture with an orangutan?” But do they really know how a baby ends up at a rehab centre? Sadly, many are still ignorant to the facts. I used to love watching how Popi clung on to Wety, who now functioned as her mom.

Popi needed 24 hour, around-the-clock care, including feeding eight times a day. If someone else was taking care of Popi and Wety walked past, Popi would start crying, wanting Wety to carry her. Tirelessly, Wety would prepare Popi’s milk every day and would teach her how to hang on ropes and small branches. As safe as it was, Popi never liked it and always cried. I admired how Wety was so patient in teaching Popi how to be an orangutan. The two of them had a language of their own. It was called love. Popi’s place of comfort was in Wety’s arms. Never had I met such a person as Wety, who had dedicated her time to baby sit this little one.

I had an opportunity to baby sit Popi one day, when Wety was called out on videographer duty at the nearby village. When Popi cried during the wee hours of the morning, I mixed milk and fed her. The next morning when I woke up, the hot water flask had been left open. Only then did I realize I was half asleep mixing her milk the previous night and had forgotten to close the flask. I laughed to myself for being silly. When she cried again around afternoon and I went close to her, she immediately held her hands up to me to be carried, and that was a priceless moment for me. It was my first time having her cling on me. I smiled inside and then prepared her milk.

Before the orangutans can be released, they first need to prove that they can survive in the wild. Pre-release candidates are transferred to an island where they live by themselves, making their own nests and learning survival skills from one another. They are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by the team, from a small cabin in the midst of a cocoa plantation overlooking the pre-release island.

I was fortunate enough to be able to partake in monitoring the orangutans. I felt great excitement getting into the tiny little boat, called ‘Way Back Home’, which transported us to the island monitoring post. There were ten orangutans stationed on the island at the time. I got to perform a physical examination on one orangutan who was slightly less active than the rest. Thankfully, he was alright and there was no reason to worry about him.

Social media has always been a good way of getting messages across to the world just through a click. Before coming to COP Borneo, I always thought it was “cool” saving the orangutans because of what I’d seen on social media. Little did I realize that this was more than a hero’s job, and how endlessly and tirelessly the team works. Listening to Linus and Reza tell me about their rescue missions and the behaviors of the orangutans only made me want even more to work in this field. The team members are more than just their roles as keepers, vets and team leaders; they’re like a family. I helped with cleaning the cages to learn what it’s like to be a keeper, because I have always believed that it is important to know wildlife from every angle. No one earns their way up without knowing the basics.

Saving the orangutans, I believe, is the bridge to saving the forest, all the life it contains, and perhaps humanity too. How can we allow the destruction of a species that is in so many ways just like us? Has greed consumed so much of our growing population that we have forgotten the simple and important things in life? Poaching wildlife to keep them as pets or sell them to the wildlife trade is as mean as one can get. Robbing animals of their freedom is taking something that does not belong to us. Clearing the land for palm oil plantations and coal mines, without taking responsibility for the harm it causes to animals and their homes, is purely selfish. But while there are those who destroy the forest, remember there will always be good, dedicated, hardworking and responsible people who will keep fighting against it. We have to wake up before we lose our forest forever to the hands of irresponsible people.

When you have spent long enough with an orangutan or any other species of animal, you will realize that we are not planet Earth’s only thinking species. Given the dwindling numbers of orangutans in the wild, with them now being an endangered species, I think it’s important for everyone to help protect orangutans and other wildlife. We need to stop saying “let others do it”, and realize that each of us play a part in their survival.

To come together and work as one, I believe everyone should take the following quote to heart:

“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.” (Andrew Boyd)

The post Stepping Into Orangutan Conservation appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.

]]> 0
WORLD NEWS: Pit Bulls, Bullfighting & Live Export Bans (2/8/18) Thu, 08 Feb 2018 15:13:47 +0000 Find out why Brazil's ban on exporting live animals lasted only three days, how Baja California is taking aim at bloodsports, what's behind an anti-pit bull "Super Bowl" commercial, and more in the latest episode of Animal People World News!

The post WORLD NEWS: Pit Bulls, Bullfighting & Live Export Bans (2/8/18) appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.


In this episode of Animal People World News, find out…

  • What’s behind an anti-pitbull “Super Bowl” commercial
  • What a recent court case in Idaho means for undercover cruelty investigators
  • How Tanzania’s recent ivory auction puts hippos at risk
  • Why India’s Supreme Court is reconsidering its 2014 ban on “bull taming” events
  • How Norway plans to ban fur farming of minks and foxes
  • Why three car companies performed fraudulent experiments on monkeys
  • Why banning live export in the U.K. and Brazil is proving so difficult
  • How Baja California is taking aim at bullfighting and cockfighting


Research by Kim Rogers Bartlett
Presentation & editing by Wolf Gordon Clifton
Theme music: “Praetor,” courtesy Ross Bugden


Greetings! I’m Wolf, like the animal, reporting for Animal People World News.


Last Sunday, fans of American football watched the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the New England Patriots in the fifty-second annual Super Bowl. Leading up to the big game, one purported Super Bowl commercial triggered outrage among pet lovers and animal advocates:

[excerpt of ad plays]

The video was created by attorney Kenneth Phillips, a specialist in dog bite law. Despite being titled a “Super Bowl commercial,” it was never actually submitted to play during the game, but has nonetheless been shared more than one hundred thousand times on Facebook.

Phillips’ statistics, claiming that pit pulls are responsible for over eighty percent of so-called “canine homicides,” are based largely on non-peer-reviewed studies of media reports comprising less than two percent of the total estimated number of serious dog attacks each year.

According to scientific research by the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control, pit bulls are involved in approximately thirty-four percent of dog bite hospitalizations, and twenty-eight percent of deaths, outnumbering any other breed on both counts. However, some surveys have identified confounding factors that correlate more strongly with likelihood of attack than does breed. These include poor socialization, past neglect or abuse, and whether or not a dog has been spayed or neutered.

Laws that regulate pit bulls separately from other dogs exist at the city or county level in thirty-three U.S. states, and at the national level in thirty-nine countries worldwide.

Animal protection organizations differ in their stances on breed-specific legislation, or BSL, from active opposition by Humane Society of the United States, to conditional support by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Kim Bartlett, the founder and president of Animal People, seeks a balance of compassion and safety in her own position on BSL:

“Pit bull bans are cruel to both the dogs and the people who have taken them into their homes and love them. A humane alternative to banning any breed of dog is a breed-ing ban, whereby the worst thing dogs and their families would face would be spaying or neutering. Since pit bulls are arguably the most abused of all dog breeds, it seems reasonable from a humane standpoint to begin to regulate breeding of all dogs by starting with a breed-ing ban of pit bulls and related breeds.”


Undercover cruelty investigators have won a major victory against agribusiness. On January fourth, a court in Idaho ruled that the U.S. state’s Interference with Animal Production law, which criminalized undercover video and audio recording in factory farms and slaughterhouses, was unconstitutional. The law was written in 2012 to protect animal agriculture following the public release of footage collected by Mercy for Animals, which showed workers abusing dairy cows. The Animal Legal Defense Fund contested the law, in partnership with animal rights and welfare, food safety, and civil liberties organizations.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision reaffirms a previous lower court ruling that banning undercover recording infringes on freedom of speech and the press. The ruling does not, however, protect activists who use false credentials in order to access agricultural facilities. Idaho is one of eleven U.S. states to have passed so-called “Ag Gag” laws, and now the third to rule them unconstitutional.


On January twenty-ninth, the government of Tanzania auctioned off a large stockpile of hippopotamus ivory, consisting of teeth from an estimated six hundred and seventy-five hippos. The ivory had either been seized from poachers or collected from naturally deceased animals, or from hippos killed in conflicts with humans. Sold to a private company for about fourteen thousand U.S. dollars, the proceeds will go toward funding conservation efforts, according to the Tanzania Wildlife Authority.

Although auctioning off the stockpile will not directly profit poachers, many wildlife protection activists fear that it may still indirectly harm hippos. Permitting legal trade in wildlife products can often encourage poaching, both by increasing commercial demand and by providing legal cover for illegally sourced products. This has proven the case for legal farming of captive tigers for their parts in southeast Asia, and government auctions of confiscated elephant ivory, both of which have resulted in increased killings of wild animals.

Hippopotamus teeth are very similar in their properties to elephant tusks, which are illegal to trade internationally and were recently banned in China. Hippos are therefore particularly vulnerable to increasing demand for their teeth as a legal substitute for elephant ivory.


The Supreme Court of India is currently revisiting a previous decision to ban the practice of jallikattu. Jallikattu is a traditional spectacle in the state of Tamil Nadu and neighboring regions, in which bulls are forced to run through crowds of men, who attempt to grab and hold on to them for a prescribed distance or time. Such events are inherently frightening and stressful for the bulls, and frequently result in injuries or even deaths to animals and humans alike.

The Supreme Court banned jallikattu in 2014, holding that it violated federal animal welfare laws. The ban provoked massive protests by jallikattu supporters, who defended the practice as part of their cultural heritage. The government of Tamil Nadu has since passed a state law allowing bull taming events to continue.

The Supreme Court must now decide whether Tamil Nadu’s law protecting jallikattu is itself constitutional. To that end, it has referred the matter to a constitution bench of five judges. The bench must determine whether jallikattu meets the legal definition of animal cruelty; whether it qualifies as a constitutionally protected cultural practice; and whether breeding bulls specifically for jallikattu can be defended as conserving native breeds of cattle, a duty of the state prescribed in India’s Constitution.

Jallikattu festivals continue to be held across India in observance of Pongal, the annual harvest festival. On January twenty-eighth, the city of Coimbatore held its first bull taming event in thirty eight years, attracting more than three hundred participants and two thousand spectators. There have been at least seven human deaths so far this year. The number of bulls to have perished from falls, collisions, or other injuries is not yet known.


The government of Norway has announced plans to abolish fur farming. Once enacted, the ban will spare some eight hundred thousand minks and foxes from being raised and slaughtered every year. It comes as the result of a political deal made between the reigning Conservative and Progress Parties, both historically pro-fur, and the anti-fur Liberal Party, the three of which recently forged a coalition to secure their collective power. Fur farms will be closed down gradually, with the ban taking full effect in 2025.

Norway, once the world’s largest producer of fox fur, is now the fourteenth European nation to phase out fur farming. Globally, around seventy million minks and four million foxes are raised and killed on fur farms each year, and another ten million animals trapped from the wild.


Car companies BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen commissioned fraudulent research subjecting monkeys to diesel fumes, according to a recent report published in the New York Times. The experiments involved confining crab-eating macaques in airtight chambers filled with diluted car exhaust. Besides being obviously cruel, the research was also rigged, as the Volkswagen Beetle used in the experiment had been secretly modified to produce less pollution than usual, making its technology seem cleaner than it actually was.

The revelation of these experiments has caused massive backlash against the companies, including official condemnation by the German government. All three companies have launched internal investigations, and Volkswagen has pledged that it will never conduct animal research again.

Although the fates of the individual monkeys are not known, the laboratory that conducted the research, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been written up for animal welfare violations thirteen times in the past three years, including accidents that killed a monkey, a dog, and six guinea pigs.

Due to the fraudulent nature of the diesel fumes research, the laboratory may be liable for prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act, which requires scientific justification and honest reporting for all experiments on animals. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is currently investigating the case.


The United Kingdom is considering banning the export of live farm animals for slaughter overseas. Hundreds of thousands of sheep and tens of thousands of cattle are currently exported from the U.K. every year to mainland Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The proposed ban would take effect after Brexit, as the European Union does not allow restrictions on trade between member states.

The U.K. Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, numerous politicians, and a large percentage of the British public support banning live export. However, livestock farmers in Northern Ireland and Scotland have come out against it. The Scottish government has declared that it will defy the ban if it is passed, and continue to allow live exports in spite of U.K. law.

In Brazil, meanwhile, a ban on live export declared last Friday, February second, survived only three days before being overturned. The short-lived ban was declared by federal judge Djalma Moreira Gomes, following reports of miserable conditions aboard a livestock ship bound for Turkey. Yet the following Monday, Brazil’s Minister of Agriculture lifted the prohibition, announcing that exports of live animals could continue as before.

The twenty five thousand cows aboard the vessel in question are currently somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. As of Judge Gomes’ attempted intervention, the cows were confined in spaces too tight to turn around, caked in their own feces and urine, subjected to deafening noise from the ship’s ventilation yet still barely able to breathe. It will take an estimated two weeks for them to arrive in Turkey for slaughter. Unless another ban is implemented, another four hundred thousand cows will suffer the same journey this year.


Finally, the Mexican state of Baja California has banned children from participating in bullfighting or cockfighting. An amendment recently passed to Baja California’s Law for the Protection of Girls, Boys, and Adolescents forbids exposing minors to acts of extreme violence against animals. The new law not only prevents parents from taking children to attend bloodsports, but also restricts the training of new bullfighters, who traditionally begin at a young age. In Mexico, bullfighting academies recruit children as young as five, and aspiring matadors often get their start in organized calf killing competitions as teenagers. Thanks to the new law, such practices will no longer be open to anyone under eighteen.

A similar law is currently under consideration in France, whose National Assembly has established a working group to regulate the use of animals in entertainment. The working group will study, among other issues, a proposal to ban participation in bullfights to anyone under fourteen years old.

These are just a few of the countless issues affecting animals worldwide. Visit the Animal People Forum to find out more, and share your own perspectives on animal rights, welfare, and conservation.

Animal People is a non-profit charity, and this news program would not be possible without help from our donors. Visit our Patreon page to find out how you can support the production of future episodes, and gain access to a variety of exclusive rewards.

Thank you for your support, and for helping to create a kinder world for all living creatures!

The post WORLD NEWS: Pit Bulls, Bullfighting & Live Export Bans (2/8/18) appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.

]]> 1
At least 283 greyhounds injured, 96 killed at Irish tracks in 2017 Fri, 26 Jan 2018 21:40:22 +0000 Greyhounds are continuing to suffer and die in Ireland's cruel greyhound racing industry, shocking new statistics reveal. Greyhound racing should be ended, and the government must stop propping up the industry with taxpayers' money.

The post At least 283 greyhounds injured, 96 killed at Irish tracks in 2017 appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.


Greyhounds are continuing to suffer and die in Ireland’s cruel greyhound racing industry, shocking new statistics reveal.

The Irish Greyhound Board’s dog death data was furnished to Clare Daly, TD [1] in response to an Irish Parliamentary Question. It shows that in the first ten months of 2017, 283 greyhounds suffered injuries at tracks around the country. The greyhounds sustained injuries to their legs, wrists, shoulders, backs, tails, muscles and toes. A total of 96 of these dogs were destroyed at the tracks.

View the statistics here, or download as a PDF.

The latest figures follow similarly horrifying information published in the Irish Examiner in November, which confirmed that in 2016, 427 greyhounds suffered on-track injuries and a total of 139 greyhounds were put down.

In addition, an estimated 10,000 greyhounds disappear every year in the greyhound industry – most likely killed when found to be not quick enough to win races. Others are dumped or exported abroad to countries with little or no animal welfare standards.

These appalling statistics, and the suffering they reflect, make it clear that greyhound racing should now be ended in Ireland, and that the government must immediately stop propping up the industry with millions of euros of taxpayers’ money.

In December, Dáil Éireann, Ireland’s house of representatives, voted in favour of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Regulations 2017, channeling €80 million euros of taxpayer money into the two industries. €16 million euros went to the Irish Greyhound Board, and another €64 million to Horse Racing Ireland, bringing to over one billion euros the amount paid out since 2001. The regulations passed with the support of 85 TDs (mostly Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour), and 33 opposed.

It is an outrage that these politicians have turned a blind eye to the well-documented animal cruelty and killing in the greyhound and horse racing industries, and chosen to squander scarce public funds in this way. It is a particularly deplorable move at a time when our country’s health and housing is in crisis and so many worthy causes are crying out for funds.

On the positive side, the number of TDs who voted in favour of the funding has fallen by nearly 20 per cent compared to last year, when 105 TDs approved the funding. This shows that mounting public pressure against horse and greyhound racing is paying off, albeit slowly.

With ongoing revelations about cruelty and killing in the Irish greyhound industry, most people and companies no longer want anything to do with greyhound racing. This is evident in the fact that, along with a 50 per cent fall in track attendance in recent years, there has been a massive 58 per cent drop in sponsorship. As a result, the industry is desperately targeting charities, sports clubs and schools to organise fundraisers at tracks.

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports continues to appeal to the public to stay away from tracks, to companies to stop sponsoring races, and to schools and sports clubs to stop fundraising at tracks. Watch and share our campaign video below:

[1] Teachta Dála, member of Dáil Éireann, Ireland’s representative house of Parliament

Featured image: racing greyhound in Dublin kennel. Credit Alan Markey, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

The post At least 283 greyhounds injured, 96 killed at Irish tracks in 2017 appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.

]]> 0
How many animals will you NOT eat in 2018? Find out with BlitzResults’ Meat Calculator! Thu, 25 Jan 2018 21:40:29 +0000 It can be difficult to visualize the effects of one's diet on animals and the environment. A new online tool seeks to change that, by allowing meat eaters, vegetarians, and flexitarians alike to calculate how many animals they have consumed or saved.

The post How many animals will you NOT eat in 2018? Find out with BlitzResults’ Meat Calculator! appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.


Problematic animal husbandry, resource consumption and excessive use of antibiotics – there are many reasons to switch to a vegetarian diet in 2018. And yet the average American still consumes more than 260 pounds carcass weight of meat per year. It seems the topic is just too abstract for consumers to connect their diets with the effects on animals and the environment. A new online tool is meant to change that.

Meat eaters can visualize how many animals were slaughtered for their diet, and the amount of antibiotics and resources used to raise the livestock. Vegetarians and flexitarians can calculate how many animals’ lives they have saved and how the environment has benefited.

Within ten years, the average American consumes 2,653 pounds of meat, equivalent to 2.1 pigs, 0.7 cows and 288 chickens. Using BlitzResults’ Meat Calculator, consumers can calculate how many animals and how much CO2, water, and antibiotics are needed for their own meat consumption.

Standard values such as the average American meat consumption are already pre-filled, but can easily be adapted to one’s own eating habits. In this way, every consumer receives his or her own personal result. In addition, it is possible to estimate how many resources could be saved if one replaced a portion of their meat meals with a vegetarian alternative.

Says Tim Lilling, Researcher at

“Discussions between vegetarians and dyed-in-the-wool meat eaters are often very emotional. The arguments are usually strongly influenced by one’s own values. Hardly anyone argues by the numbers. And if numbers are used, they are often general and vague. Sure, everyone knows that animals are bred and slaughtered for meat production. But a steak on the grill doesn’t tell you its story. You just don’t see the negative environmental impact and side-effects. The Meat Calculator makes the use of resources and the negative consequences for the environment tangible.”

Literature, studies and other sources of information often only contain general averages. The big advantage of the BlitzResults Meat Calculator is that it provides everyone with a very personalized result. The calculator is based on data and studies from the United States Federal Department of Agriculture, OECD and many other organizations.

The goal of the calculator, however, is not to convert consumers to one or the other form of nutrition, but to make the consequences of their own actions transparent. Consumers can play through different scenarios: What happens if I continue to eat in the same manner? How many animals could be alive if every second meal was replaced by a vegetarian alternative?

Test the BlitzResults Meat Calculator here!

Featured image credit -tarat-, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The post How many animals will you NOT eat in 2018? Find out with BlitzResults’ Meat Calculator! appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.

]]> 0
The Cruel Elephant Tourism Industry Thu, 25 Jan 2018 02:59:26 +0000 The use of elephants in tourism is fueling cruelty, and the demand for elephants to feed the tourism industry has resulted in the organised illegal trade of wild elephants in parts of Asia.

The post The Cruel Elephant Tourism Industry appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.


Following a recent incident in Thailand in which a male elephant killed his owner, Friends of the Earth Malaysia (FOEM) is once again asking questions about the wider issues surrounding the use of elephants in tourism.

Elephant rides are a popular tourist activity in Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal, other parts of Asia and some regions of Africa. It is not as common here in Malaysia, though there are some locations in the country offering elephant riding activities.

The appeal of elephant treks is clear. In many ways an elephant ride is the equivalent experience to swimming with dolphins in the wild. However, there is a dark side to elephant tourism that many people are not aware of.

Elephant stables in Nepal. Image courtesy Wolf Gordon Clifton – Animal People, Inc.

Wild elephants will not allow humans to ride on them. In order to tame a wild elephant, they are tortured to break their mind, body and spirit. They are subjected to extremely cruel training practices, including repeated beatings and stabbings with bull hooks, and starvation and deprivation of sleep for many days. This is the generally accepted practice elephants have to undergo in Thailand to be trained for tourism, circuses and other forms of entertainment.

The many abuses captive elephants undergo have prompted international animal groups and celebrities to take a stand against elephant riding. One such person is the renowned French animal activist Brigitte Bardot, who wrote to the Natural Resource and Environment Minister (NRE) to release Lasah, a Malaysian elephant held captive in Langkawi for rides, to an elephant sanctuary.

Despite their size, elephants are not designed for carrying people on their backs all day, and can suffer permanent spinal injuries from doing so. It is not just the weight on their spines that hurts them, but also the consequences of having the chair or howdah attached to their backs. The contraption rubs on their backs, causing blisters that can get infected. Then there is the wear and tear on the elephants’ feet. Long term trekking can cause foot infections and chronic foot and joint problems. Scars and injuries from bull hooks and chains are often visible as well.

Outside of the tourists’ visiting hours, many elephants display behaviours such as pacing and repetitive swaying from side to side. These are signs of distress and boredom, resulting from the lack of stimulation, enrichment, or freedom to express natural behaviour while restrained on short chains, leading solitary lives under inadequate conditions. Forcing elephants to carry people around all day deprives them of all these needs.

In order to feed the booming elephant tourism industry, a continuous supply of elephants is needed. Hunting them from the wild can result in the deaths of up to five adult elephants per captured calf, as herd members attempt to protect their young. Calves may die from being prematurely separated from their mothers, or from the cruel subduing and training procedures. Scientists estimate that between 50 and 100 young elephants are captured every year in Myanmar alone, and then smuggled to Thailand where there is money to be made.

Elephant show at the Dalian Forest Zoo in China. Image credit Animals Asia, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

Responsible tourists have the power to reduce demand and change the industry now. They can help by convincing travel companies and tour operators to stop promoting attractions that profit from elephant cruelty. Riding an elephant may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it costs a lifetime of suffering for the elephant, and can also pose very serious safety risks for tourists.

Tourists are often given the impression they are contributing to a good cause, and encouraged to continue supporting such activities. But this is often an exploitation of the tourists’ concern for elephants. Travel companies should stop selling tickets or promoting venues that offer elephant rides or shows.

It is not uncommon for tourist events in which elephants are featured to result in dangerous accidents. This danger, much like the cruel treatment of the elephants, is rarely made public to tourists and the travel industry.

The use of elephants in tourism is clearly fueling cruelty, and the demand for elephants to feed the tourism industry has resulted in the organised illegal trade of wild elephants in parts of Asia. The way elephants are treated is nothing less than shockingly cruel and disgraceful, and elephant rides and all other activities using elephants in the name of entertainment should be banned.

S M Mohd Idris
Friends of the Earth Malaysia (FOEM)

Featured image: Elephant trek in Ko Chang, Thailand. Image credit V.T. Polywoda, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The post The Cruel Elephant Tourism Industry appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.

]]> 0
Protecting India’s Grassland Ecosystems Against Invasive Species Thu, 25 Jan 2018 01:58:16 +0000 Grasses are an important part of animals' habitats in India. By cultivating native grasses, men and women of India give grazing animals safe food to eat, creating a positive impact which ripples throughout the food chain and environment.

The post Protecting India’s Grassland Ecosystems Against Invasive Species appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.


Grasses are an essential part of a thriving ecosystem. There is a growing movement in India towards reinstating indigenous grasses that have been pushed out by invasive species. By cultivating native grasses, men and women of India give grazing animals safe food to eat, creating a positive impact which ripples throughout the food chain and environment.

Wild elephants grazing in Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka. Image credit Carlos Castillo, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Threat

Native grasses of India, which are necessary for thriving ecosystems, are threatened by several factors. Human industry, over farming, and invasive species create conditions in which native grasses cannot flourish. An expanding human population leads to roads, buildings, and pollution, all of which are bad for grasses. Over farming takes away nutrients that grass needs to grow.

The third factor, invasive species, is a particular threat when human population expansion and over-farming have already affected an area. One tree that is a specific problem is the Prosopis juliflora, or “Baavlia,” an introduced species originating from Mexico.

Prosopis juliflora, an invasive plant species from the New World, in Maharashtra, India. Image credit Dinesh Valke, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Safe Grasses to Eat

Grasses are an important part of animals’ habitats in India. Central and western India contain savannas, grass-covered land with some tree cover as well. A large percentage of India was savanna before human industrialization changed the landscape in much of the country. For hundreds of species in India, the grass is a crucial element of their diets.

Large and small animals alike survive on grass. Elephants of the grasslands graze on Imperata cylindrica, Leersia hexandra, and other species of true grasses (known as Poaceae or Gramineae). Besides the elephant, large grazing animals like the gaur, rhino, and antelope also consume grasses as a main staple of their diets. Small animals such as insects also survive on grasses, and feed animals farther along the food chain, like birds.

Female blackbuck antelope. Image courtesy Kim Bartlett / Animal People, Inc.

The Men and Women Behind the Movement

Replanting and protecting native grasses in India is a collective effort. Organizations and individuals alike are working to put into place measures that protect the grasses from threats. Conservation India is one organization that is working to protect the savannas of India. Individuals such as Pradip Krishen also work to preserve the land. Pradip is a filmmaker, author, and activist who is restoring damaged land in the Pachmarhi ecosystem of Madhya Pradesh.

Edible grass is a vital part of the ecosystem. The native grasses in India are threatened by over farming and invasive species. Organizations and individuals work to protect the grasses so that the large and small animals that survive on the grass can thrive.

Caretaker of a sacred grove in Tamil Nadu, restored from farmland and repopulated with native flora thanks to the efforts of Nanditha Krishna and the C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation (photo courtesy Wolf Gordon Clifton / Animal People, Inc.)

Featured image: restored sacred grove in Tamil Nadu. Courtesy Wolf Gordon Clifton / Animal People, Inc.

The post Protecting India’s Grassland Ecosystems Against Invasive Species appeared first on ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM.

]]> 0